Art history explores the historical connections between cultural production and society and engages in the critical analysis of art and visual culture. The Art History Program will train you in the perception, analysis, and understanding of images.
We use engaged learning activities and critical approaches to investigate images and their aesthetic, cultural, historical, political, economic, and theoretical contexts within and beyond a particular society. We make frequent visits to local galleries and occasional trips to Chicago's museums. Students conduct guided, but independent research. Our Program draws on faculty expertise in several Illinois Wesleyan departments.
Students of art history often seek employment in museum, gallery, conservation, research and educational institutions and may pursue graduate studies to achieve this end. We encourage current students to apply for internships at art museums and related art venues.
The Art History Minor
Our minor in art history is open to all undergraduates and requires a minimum of five course units. One of the courses must be ART 115, and two art history courses must be at the 300 level. Students must earn a C or higher in courses applied toward the art history minor.
Sample course plan:
2. Select two courses from: ART 209, 307, 309, 311, 316, 355, 370, 399, 450
ART 115 Introduction to Art History
This course explores the relationship between artistic production and audience in a historical and global context. Students will focus on select works of art to develop the ability to engage visual texts in an analytical and critical manner. Course includes visits to campus galleries and collections. The course fulfills the General Education requirements for The Arts category (AR). Offered each spring
ART 209 Myth, Image, and Symbol in South Asian Religion
An investigation of the interrelationship among textual and non-textual forms of religious expression in South Asian religion. Readings from Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions will be correlated with images and symbols drawn from sculpture, painting, dance, and film. The course is cross-listed with IS/REL 209 and fulfills the General Education requirements for the categories of The Arts and Encountering Global Diversity (AR, G). Offered occasionally
ART 307 The Art and Archaeology of Greek Myth
Myths and rituals constitute the religion of ancient Greece, and are expressed in art, monuments, and in writing. The culture, ideas, and values imparted through the varied expressions of Greek myths influenced Western thought in a profound and lasting way. In this course we will study the intimate relationship between myth, art, history, and culture of ancient Greece. The course is cross-listed with GRS 307 and fulfills the General Education requirement for The Arts category (AR). Offered occasionally, May Term. Recommended prereq: GRS 210
ART 309 Greek Art from Homer to Alexander
A survey of cultural artifacts and monuments of ancient Greece from the “Age of Homer” (Bronze Age) to the “Age of Alexander” (Hellenistic Period). The goal is to develop an understanding and appreciation of Greek artistic expression, its influences, and its impact on Western art and thought. Course includes a field trip. The course is cross-listed with GRS 309 and fulfills the General Education requirements for The Arts category (AR). Offered in alternate years, fall
ART 311 Art And Architecture Of The Roman World
This course follows the development of the forms and ideologies of Roman art from the republic to late antiquity. The issues to be discussed will include public and private and civic and religious art and architecture, urban planning, and the interaction of Roman art forms and provincial cultures in the forging of identity. The course is cross-listed with GRS/HIST 311 and fulfills the General Education requirements for The Arts category (AR). Offered occasionally
ART 316 European Art, 1750-1900
An examination of the visual arts and critical ideas shaping Europe from the Enlightenment to the beginnings of Modernism. The course explores the visual culture of the French Revolution, art and colonialism, the major artistic movements, and the rapid technological and societal changes associated with modernity. Familiarity with art history is not required (AR). Offered occasionally
ART 320 Modern Art
The course surveys the major developments in international art and design from the late nineteenth to the mid twentieth century. Key topics include medium specificity, mass-produced design and consumer culture, avant-gardism, abstraction, the movements and trends of postimpressionism and expressionism, cubism and futurism, constructivism and the bauhaus, dada and surrealism, and international developments following World War II. Familiarity with art history is not required. The course fulfills the General Education requirements for The Arts category (AR). Offered each fall
ART 322 Contemporary Art
A critical survey of art since the 1960s with particular emphasis on the strategies of artistic practices and art’s social engagement. Course themes will address minimalism, conceptual art, postminimalism, happenings, critical theory, feminist art theory, institutional critique, postmodernism, multimedia, collaborative, and ephemeral projects, cultural globalism and transnational artists. The course fulfills the General Education requirements for for the categories of The Arts and Encountering Global Diversity (AR, G). Offered each spring
ART 355 African Expressive Arts
This course introduces students to a variety of African expressive art forms in historical particularist and cross-cultural perspective. Artists, scholars, and performers, who specialize in specific African media will share their expertise in lecture-demonstrations and workshops, providing students with hands-on learning experiences. The course is cross-listed with ANTH 355 and fulfills the General Education requirements for the categories of The Arts and Encountering Global Diversity (AR, G). Offered alternate years in May Term
ART 370 Special Topics in Art History
May vary in content with each offering. The central focus may be on one or more art movements, particular artistic problems or concepts, time periods or geographical locations which are more or less narrowly defined, or on the work of an individual artist. Each course offering under this title bears a subtitle which indicates the specific subject matter and the type of course experience that is planned. (Recent courses) May be repeated for credit if course content is not duplicated. Offered occasionally
ART 399 Art Seminar
A seminar on a theme in art and visual culture, open to all upper-level undergraduates and required of seniors in the School of Art. Topics will vary, and the course may be repeated for credit. The seminar is research-focused and fulfills the General Education requirements for a Writing Intensive course (W). Offered each fall
ART 450 Advanced Studies in Art History
The seminar topic varies with each offering and may include a specified historical moment or group of artists, methodological trends or conceptual problems in the field. The seminar combines discussion and presentation, research and writing. The course fulfills the General Education requirements for a Writing Intensive course (W). Offered occasionally